Monday, 28 November 2011

REVIEW: Immortals


There has been a recent sub-genre of films which are best categorised as style-over-story. These are best recognised for combining a simplistic videogame plot with truly stunning, unique visuals. They vary in quality: Scott Pilgrim vs the World (excellent), Sucker Punch (average) and The Spirit (awful). And Immortals strives to be one of them.

Unfortunately, director Tarsem Singh doesn’t quite manage this. To get the inevitable 300 comparison out of the way, Immortals is 300 without the fun.

There are two main problems.

Firstly, there is far too much story for this style-over-story film. The audience will constantly find themselves sitting through lengthy exposition without any of it tidying up the plot.

Secondly, the style is not quite stylish enough. Admittedly, Zack Snyder had a Frank Miller graphic novel as inspiration when storyboarding 300 so it might be unfair to compare Singh’s film to its contemporaries. But even so, this is clearly a visual film and the art team seem to be withholding. The one area when the design truly flourishes is with Olympus but even that is marred by golden costumes so outrageous that they could have been lifted from Lady Gaga’s wardrobe.

The film is not hopeless. There is a complimentary mix of gritty fight scenes between the mortals and slow-mo, hyper-gory, hyper-nonsensical fight scenes between the immortals. These are the scenes when you will pay attention, although mostly because you will think somebody just flipped channels to, yes, 300.

But more than the fighting, this film is best seen for Henry Cavill’s skills as a leading man, which are given a good warm-up before he dons the cape for Nolan and Snyder’s Superman reboot next year. Cavill is impressive. He brings charisma, good looks and the customary six-pack to an effectively cardboard cut-out character. Just imagine what he can do with Clark Kent.

Aside from this, Immortals is another slice of forgettable 3D fodder. Unlike its lead character, it certainly won’t live forever.


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